Infection control measures in ophthalmology during the COVID-19 outbreak: A narrative review from an early experience in Italy.Eur J Ophthalmol. 2020 Jul; 30(4):621-628.EJ
The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is infecting people and spreading easily from person-to-person. Cases have been detected in most countries worldwide. Italy is one of the most affected countries as of 30 March 2020. Public health response includes a rapid reorganization of the Italian National Healthcare System in order to reduce transmission of COVID-19 within hospitals and healthcare facilities, while optimizing the assistance to patients with severe COVID-19 complications.
We analysed the actions that were taken in three ophthalmology centres in northern Italy during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak and how these measures affected patient's attendance. In addition, due to the rapidly evolving scenario, we reviewed the evidence available during the course of this pandemic.
A full reorganization of ophthalmology services is mandatory according to current existing infection containment measures in order to continue dispensing urgent procedures without endangering the community with amplification of the diffusion chain. Ophthalmologists are considered at elevated risk of exposure when caring patients and vice versa, due to their close proximity during eye examination. High volumes of procedures typically generated by ophthalmologists with concurrent implications on the risk of infection are considered when re-assessing healthcare facilities reorganization.
Containment measures in the event of pandemic due to infective agents should be well known by healthcare professionals and promptly applied in order to mitigate the risk of nosocomial transmission and outbreak.